Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Green up your commute today!

This Earth Day April 22, you can have a greener commute immediately. Here are a few things you can do on Earth Day and beyond to reduce commuting costs on the wallet and the environment.

  • Take public transit if you can. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a fan of Metra, but Metra works for my route and schedule. Your mileage may vary.
  • Drive at a consistent rate of speed. Reduce sudden stops and starts. It is also recommended to drive within the posted speed limit to optimize fuel efficiency, although some dispute this.
  • Check your tire pressure and ensure the tires are properly inflated as per the figures printed on the tires’ walls. Improves safety, as well.
  • Fill your tank with the lowest octane gas your car will allow. This means regular unleaded for most of us. The weather is expected to be nice this week; no freezing temps to challenge older engines. Save a few pennies and buy the 87 octane.
  • The jury is out as to whether brand-name gas is better than “no-name” fuel. Some people swear by their favorite brand, while others pish-posh the idea of designer gas. I generally avoid “Gas-R-Us”-type shops, but am not particularly loyal to any one chain. I’ve purchased gas at Wal-Mart and at Jewel and my car still runs fine.
  • Plan your trip to avoid the most congested roads. Traffic reports may not be the most exciting radio content, but paying attention to them can help you avoid time- and fuel-consuming delays.
  • This may be on the fantasy list, but if you have a choice, telecommute to work today and a few days per week. Granted, this option is not available to many of us. I have to go to the office every day like the rest of you on our roads and rails.

Don’t forget the other great tips for a greener commute, such as carpooling, bicycling or walking.

From ItAllAddsUp.gov: “Carpooling, using transit, walking or bicycling—just one day a week for a year—can save the typical commuter about 1,200 miles on their vehicle and about $455 in total driving costs.” Every little bit helps.

By the numbers: The average price of a gallon of gas in Chicagoland is $3.54 (as of 4/20/08). Metra fare from the most distant station to downtown Chicago is $8.05 one-way. Daily parking at most suburban stations is $1.25.

More sites keen on saving the green (environmentally and financially):
What Gas Stations Won’t Tell You
Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Gasoline Consumption
Edmunds.com tests the fuel economy tips
A Greener Car Wash
The Real Costs of Owning a Hybrid
Hybrid Sales Increase 38% in 2007
Walkscore.com

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Filed under: Commuting, , ,

4 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. kilax says:

    “Plan your trip to avoid the most congested roads.”… in Chicago? 😉 Just teasing!

  2. Almost reminiscent of the guy who, a few weeks ago, piloted his private jet to Lincolnshire so that his son wouldn’t miss tennis practice. He landed on the golf course of the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort – which to my knowledge has no runway.
    http://www.nbc5.com/news/15484839/detail.html

    I’m certainly not advocating such recklessness. Perhaps a helicopter instead? 🙂

  3. kilax says:

    I forgot about that! That’s hilarious. 🙂

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This is great! I recently wrote about bicycling destinations. Let me know if you’d like to link exchange.

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